Buying decision time, or Time for a sanity check?

Have you ever asked yourself this question:

“Why in the world did I buy that?”

… or what moves you to buy anything else for that matter?

I get the impression much of the time, many sales are driven either by brand loyualty or familiarity. There is something to be said about popularity and technology, as well. However, in the realm of high end audio, attaining the best sound is the undisputed goal. Along that path many ‘audiophiles’ must make decisions about current or up and coming product manufacturers. Each and every decision revolves around a number of items, with performance being routinely at the top of the list. Although performance seems chiefly the reason we purchase items I do not believe it solely why an item (s), finds some way into our homes.

Many audio enthusiasts, myself included, must compromise the amount of performance they seek due to other constraints. . . Pricing, WAF, compatibility, confidence level, or preconceived notions, be they real or imagined, I think play a part.. but I’ve been wrong before.

Thus, when new companies arise offering us vaunted or so called, instituted value, or bleeding edge technology, or just a new slant on an old theme, what is it that promotes you to diminish your savings account? If there is ‘ONE’ main reason that will swing you to buy a product, what usually is that reason?

I’m simply curious as to what it is that drives our decisions for purchasing audio gear. Mainly. Naturally there are more than simply one or two of the following list which play important roles in the final analysis for myself. For me it comes down more often to value than to anything else. I am not a “no compromise” audiophile. Technology, although quite important enough, is also not the main qualifier. Color and style usually do not matter to any great extent with the exception of speaker coloring. I simply hate black… but that’s just me, and at times I have overlooked that too. I do so admire a good looking remote that can operate universally, many other electronics, and some kitchen appliances as well. I’ve always seen that as additive. One can not have too many remotes you know.

It’s your company, so you have to?
Your “electronic clock”, is ticking?
“Stereophile’s” say so?
Ego? (just got to have the latest & greatest)
Product recognition?
The kids have finally moved out?
Easy to read owner’s manual? (I’m lukewarm here)
Free delivery?
Brand loyalty?
Arrival of a new credit card?
Batteries included? (always a plus for me)
Payment Terms?
A darned good looking remote?
Future upgrade options?
Strictly the sound?
The I.R.S. made a mistake in your favor?
A darned good looking salesperson?
My stuff is ancient!

So what is it, friends? What are the main reasons you lay down your hard earned, or easily quaffed duckets for the “XYZ” Model “Eight” series X?

Do make an effort to be fair with yourself in this regard, and as always, have fun.
You missed one category; The Client User List

The choice of musicians and audio engineers is generally pretty solid; the likes of Pink Floyd, Telarc, Sting, Tom Petty, Doug Sax, Mark Knopfler, Lenny Kravitz, Warner Bros, Disney, Hans Zimmer, Rolling Stones, CBC, Sony - SACD, Ronnie Scott's Jazz club, Peter Walsh, James Guthrie...etc. People within the business are more likely to make solid long term choices rather than the latest and greatest fad.
Wow! you know all them people? That's heavy.

I can't think of everything.... though I purposely left that one out figuring someone would mention it pretty soon.

No one is restricted to the list if they have another 'hot button' that pushes them over the edge in making a purchasing decision. Although I did think it to be quite in depth, actually... but good for you. Knowing someone in the bizz sure can't hurt.

Thanks much.
it is very simple for me. i will invest in that which gets me closer to the sound of an acoustic instrument.
For speakers, I've always listened with my own ears. I also have a dealer friend who has correctly predicted whether I'd like or dislike the sound of every audio item except one, and this has been over a period of around 10 years, including home audio and car audio products. I now feel like I can trust his ears as "surrogates" for my own, and am willing to follow his recommendations. In case there's anyone left who doesn't know who he is, he's Duane.
How about putting in a ridiculously low bid on a piece of gear you had no intention of buying only to win? That's happened to me both on Audiogon and ebay. It's not all that bad because it's a good deal. I'm listening to one of those buys right now and am quite happy.
I'm driven by upgrades that offer easy-to-recognize improvements - if I try something that might be different or might be better, I pass or re-sell, but if it is just clearly better sounding to me, I want to acquire.

I tend to get serious when it's bonus time - with luck, that's annually, and a good time to genuinely reward yourself. I'm definitely into HT as well, so that keeps more pieces in rotation.

I don't know how I'll react when I feel like I've reached my limit - ie, everything seems at best to be a minor improvement, or just a different sound. My motivations may change, or I may quit mucking around.
I am driven to buy by the illusion that I am finally going to be satisfied completely.
Good. At the very least, you know where you’re going. Thanks.

A good relationship with a dealer... Always a plus, and another one for ‘ears’. Thanks

Cool. Opportunism. I never have that sort of luck, so I don’t even try. Thanks.

Super. Another one for the ears. Thanks.

Ain’t that the truth. A sure sign of obsession. Very good.

Certainly the ears should always “have it”. I just can’t always get my wallet and ears on the same path. The wallet wins far more than I would like. In fact, my CD player, BAT preamp, and BAT amp, were purchased WITHOUT audition, whatsoever. I did ask a bunch of you people prior to those purchases… prayed some…. Then just took it on faith. Those episodes worked out fine. The CD I bought solely from the continued placement on the Class A componenets list at Stereophile. I had only heard the SCD 1, never the 777…. And again, the wallet won that time too. The ears wanted the SCD 1.

I also never heard even one of the many tubes I bought beforehand. It was all subjective advice driven. What ultimately worked well there, was finding a standup tube dealer.

still, I do have a soft spot for those cute remotes, and if they operate kitchen appliances, or double as a Qusinard, or juicer, I'll not resist.
My last purchase was for a pre-amp. I hadn't heard of the brand until two months before I bought a used one from another a-gonner... it's extremely rare for me to do something that can be considered so impulsive. I had never tried switching pre-amps in my system and had no idea what sort of difference it would make. BUT, I just got married and absolutely had to buy something before getting hitched.
so, short story made shorter- deep dark fear that marriage would prevent any future audio purchases!
Smart move! One for fear.

Next time buy what you want, and give it to her as a gift... if she doens't like it, just apologize and tell her "OK. Then I guess I'll be forced to use it myself... but it's OK dear, I'll make do with it." Whatever it is, get an expensive one... probably this tact may not work very often... and results will vary.
I doubt I could get away with such trickery! At least she reckonizes sound quality... I became instant friends with her best work friend's husband when I discovered he has an audio set up a step up from mine (his- Vandy 2ce sigs, Audio Research, Odyssey, Arcam). We sat down for a listen at their house and my wife, ever so bluntly, said "his stereo sounds better than your stereo." How's that for a wife killing her husband's ego? And then she tells me that I can't buy anything. I'm glad I listened to my fears and bought my pre-amp when I did.
oouch! yep. that would have hurt me too, I'm sure. Keep going over there and letting her hear that system... ultimately she'll cave, as she'll get used to that one and want to upgrade! ..maybe.

Or, simply point out the "cute little remote" a new SYZ comes with... always a plus, not to mention that E Z payment plan.
It's the concordance of two events: 1) there's money in my savings account, and 2) I hear something better. Neither of these happens very often, as I know full well the danger of wandering into a good audio dealership.

Every few years, if event 1 happens, I'll look for something affordable that's demonstrably better. Did that this year, twice, when I replaced my Mission 772s with a used pair of Spica TC-60s, then replaced the Spicas with a used pair of Martin Logan Aeriuses, which, at $1,000, took several gut checks.

Oh yeah, I forgot event 3) there's an irresistable dirt-cheap bargain on eBay. Replaced my HK receiver with an Adcom preamp and two Adcom power amps for $350 total this way. Just couldn't let 'em pass by.

Best not to watch auctions too much. Otherwise I'll find myself with a Rega Planet 2000 and zero balance.
I buy if I think I will be satisfied with the product.

But since hi-end audio is largely about:
* creating dissatisfaction - otherwise there is no inpetus to keep buying.
* there is no consensus on right and wrong, only preferences and opinions.
* the latest and greatest is obsolete in a few years (or months in the case of Musical Fidelity).
* No component is perfect.
* Differences IMHO are pretty small although they tend to be overblown by Audio Industry. I think it was Art Dudley or Michael Fremer who even admitted hi-end audio, on an absolute scale, is about small nuances.

I think long and hard before shelling out money.
I admit to buying without audition, which is insane, but if you buy almost exclusively 2nd hand, you often have no choice. I sometimes wonder if I had developed a relationship with a dealer and bought a coherent system of new components carefully auditioned, whether I would have done better. Probably not, I have chosen items which have a pretty uniform and strong support and have'nt been disappointed.
CJ Premier 17
Pass labs Aleph 3
Lavardin IT(current use)
Viva Solista(" ")
Acoustic Zen Cables
I am reaching a point of diminishing returns, when I need to get off the escalator. I am very happy with my system and think any major improvement is going to be mega expensive. Time to sit back and enjoy the music?
I think it comes down to... If she doesn't "mind", then it doesn't "matter"...(;^)...
I've long since been a proponent of getting the Department of Transportation to place warning signs near Audio dealerships... such as

"CAUTION Vehicles may abruptly leave or enter roadway without advance notice! "

YES, IT’S USUALLY A QUESTION OF “Mind over matter”. Who minds,and how much it matters.…that, and a “well written owners manual”, of course.